The Ford Shelby GT350 is among the most thrilling sports activities automobiles I’ve ever pushed. Tossing the coupe round on my favourite roads, the Shelby felt alive, demanding my full consideration, filling my system with adrenaline and rewarding me with an incredible experience.
It is packing a screamer of an engine that makes an incredible sound when pushed laborious, it seems to be wonderful and it handles extra exactly than any mere Mustang ever ought to. However then once more, that is no mere Mustang. Because the Cobra badge hints, it is a utterly totally different animal.
No mere Mustang
Most muscle automobile critiques would begin within the engine bay, however I am satisfied that the Shelby GT350 is not any muscle automobile; it is a bona fide sport automobile with track-focused efficiency. To achieve this level, the Mustang chassis — which is already a well-sorted bundle for this technology — has undergone a whole overhaul.
The physique has been stiffened and strengthened throughout to type a greater platform for the powertrain and suspension to work from.
Within the wheel wells, you may discover that beefed up suspension, which is exclusive to the GT350 and GT350R, making use of ball joints — relatively than bushings — to take away any squishiness from the steering. The 2017 mannequin additionally makes final 12 months’s Monitor Bundle upgrades normal, so each GT350 rolls off the road driving on the MagneRide lively dampers. On the contact of a button, the Shelby goes from satisfyingly agency to trace sharp, all of the whereas adapting each thousandth of a second to the street and steering inputs.
“What broad tires you may have, Shelby!” “The higher to nook with.”
The suspension geometry has additionally been tweaked to accommodate the widest entrance wheels ever fitted to the Mustang chassis. Shod with sticky, 295mm broad Michelin Pilot Tremendous Sport rubber up entrance and 305mm broad contact patches out again, the Shelby GT350 boasts loads of grip.
Filling these 19-inch wheels are huge Brembo brakes. At 15.5 inches up entrance and 14.9 out again, these grabbers are greater than many automobiles’ wheels and haul the GT350 to a cease like dropping an anchor. Their 2-part rotor, cross-drilled building and floating caliper design assist handle the warmth generated by repeated observe braking to maintain the stopping distances constant and fade-free.
Usually unsung upgrades to the suspension are Recaro racing seats that function deep bolsters and grippy Alcantara cloth. They actually assist hold the driving force planted whereas the coupe is sticking aggressively via corners, however are additionally broad and comfy sufficient for prolonged journeys.
Unique V8 engine
Powering the Shelby is a 5.2-liter, V8 engine, however do not let the displacement idiot you; it is a utterly totally different beast to the 5.0L Coyote engine within the Mustang GT. The GT350’s mill (code-named Voodoo) makes use of a flat-plane crank configuration just like that of an unique supercar to generate 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque.
What’s most spectacular about this engine is the way it makes its energy. Redline is at a lofty eight,250 rpm with peak energy not being reached till round 7,500 rpm. Meaning the GT350’s is each probably the most highly effective naturally aspirated engine in Ford’s manufacturing automobile historical past and its highest revving manufacturing V8.
The high-revving nature of the V8 informs the remainder of the GT350’s efficiency, biasing it towards high-energy observe efficiency and additional separating it from the down-low, drag racer torque of different Mustangs. Relatively than kicking like a mule off the road, the Voodoo V8 rewards the driving force with energy that simply retains coming the tougher it is pushed.
The 5.2-liter “Voodoo” V8 spins round a flat airplane crank — a configuration seen on racing engines and unique supercars.
The engine is mated to a six-speed handbook transmission that is possibly not the very best I’ve used, however remains to be a pleasure to row. It has a pleasant throw, not too quick and never truckishly lengthy, that ends in a satisfying engagement. The clutch pedal additionally has a pleasant weight to it and an engagement level that is most likely a bit too fast for cease and go visitors, however is completely suited to dynamic driving and blipped downshifts.
Built-in Driver Management and Monitor Apps
The usual MagneRide suspension is managed by way of a button situated proper on the steering wheel together with a devoted button that tweaks the steering really feel and responsiveness. Merely faucet both to toggle between avenue and efficiency settings.
The GT350 additionally function 5 preset drive modes as a part of its Built-in Driver Management (IDC) system. A rocker on the steering wheel permits the driving force to decide on between Regular, Sport and Monitor settings with more and more aggressive throttle, suspension, steering and stability management settings. Within the sportier settings, a baffle within the exhaust additionally opens up, making the already loud Shelby sound much more superior.
There’s additionally a devoted Drag Strip setting that allows launch management and a Climate mode for elevated traction in moist and snow situations.
The Shelby’s cabin is driver-focused. Controls for the IDS drive modes are situated on the steering wheel for straightforward entry.
Fiddle with a separate financial institution of steering wheel controls to disclose Ford’s Monitor Apps within the instrument cluster’s show. Right here, the driving force can time Zero-60 and quarter-mile runs, monitor G-forces, keep watch over a wide range of car sensors and extra.
Monitor Apps’ coolest function is the Line Lock burnout mode. That is mainly a simple burnout system that enables the driving force to lock the entrance brakes whereas leaving the rears free and the driving force clear to warmth up the rear tires in a smoky show. With heat tires and launch management, my casual zero-to-60 run whizzed by in about four seconds and alter.
Driving a race automobile on the street
Within the decrease rpms, the Shelby is a remarkably simple automobile to drive round city. It’s kind of too loud, but it surely’s additionally easy with linear and predictable energy supply. The suspension, whereas agency, by no means felt too harsh. I might completely each day drive this automobile.
When driving with zeal, I needed to battle the urge to short-shift because the revs rose into the higher registers; it simply felt unnatural for a Mustang to rev so excessive. Sticking with it, I used to be rewarded with energy that simply builds and builds. In the meantime, the engine’s wail additionally builds to a roar that simply provides to the frantic vitality filling the coupe.
On my favourite again roads, the broad and sticky entrance tires had a bent to comply with ruts within the street and talk each element of the floor. Thankfully, the short and responsive steering made gentle work of conserving the GT350 in line. In the meantime, there’s a lot energy out again that I might sometimes really feel just a little wiggle from the rear finish when getting on the throttle.
The GT350 felt alive in my arms, demanding my consideration at each bend and respiratory new life into passages that I might taken maybe lots of of instances earlier than. But, the Shelby grips so nicely and with dealing with so exact that, even when it was mildly terrifying me, I by no means felt uncontrolled and I by no means bought exhausted. In reality, I used to be exhilarated and energized by each experience, my system teeming with adrenaline and wanting extra.
Like I mentioned, the Ford Shelby GT350 is among the most thrilling rides I’ve ever pushed. The final time my coronary heart raced like this in a automobile, I used to be within the backseat.
Sadly, my week behind the wheel did not coincide with any on-track time, however we have already accomplished a number of laps within the Shelby GT350R — the marginally lighter and extra hardcore model of this automobile — and anticipate efficiency to be comparable, particularly with the 2017 mannequin’s upgrades closing the hole since final 12 months.
Pricing and competitors
The 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 begins at $56,145 and there aren’t many choices so as to add at that time apart from a $three,000 Comfort bundle that provides leather-based energy seats and $three,000 electronics bundle that upgrades to Sync three infotainment with navigation, improved audio and different tech creature comforts. I might skip the previous — the usual seats are already loads comfy — however seize the latter. The improved tech is a dear however worthwhile improve that makes the GT350 a extra nice each day driver, particularly with the addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and assist hold my consideration centered on the elegant driving expertise.
At that value, the GT350 faces an attention-grabbing mixture of competitors. Domestically, the Shelby trades blows with the lighter Corvette Grand Sport and the extra highly effective Camaro ZL1. I might additionally toss the Cadillac ATS-V into the combo as maybe the very best match for the GT350’s mix of value, on-track efficiency and each day driveability.
The 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 is among the most thrilling rides I’ve ever pushed. I am getting just a little rush simply fascinated by it.
Nonetheless, the Shelby GT350’s track-honed efficiency envelope additionally places it in league with the likes of BMW’s M4. The GT350 is a much less refined street automobile, but it surely’s additionally inexpensive than the Bimmer. Plus, a little bit of unrefinement is a part of the Shelby’s attraction and I feel I might personally choose the adrenaline-fueled thrill of the Shelby.